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Report: 2023 Gender Parity Index

Executive Summary

In August 2013, RepresentWomen launched the Gender Parity Index (GPI) to help researchers and advocates track progress toward gender-balanced governance and identify opportunities for increasing women’s political representation in the U.S. Each year, we assign all 50 states a Gender Parity Score, letter grade, and ranking according to their proximity to parity. One of the key takeaways from this exercise is that progress toward gender balance is slower and less stable than it first appears. 

In the first Gender Parity Index, 40 states earned a “D” grade (< 25.0) or worse (< 10.0); the remaining ten states were split evenly between “Cs” (< 33.0) and “Bs” (< 50.0), and no state achieved an “A” (50.0 and above). Ten years later, Maine and Oregon have both achieved an “A” for the first time, 24 states are split evenly between “Bs” and “Cs,” 23 states have earned a “D,” and Louisiana is the only failing state. 

The 2023 Index reflects recent record-breaking progress for women in the U.S. government, particularly state executives. Following the 2022 elections, 12 states have women governors, breaking the previous record of nine. Correspondingly, six of the top ten states in the 2023 GPI have women governors, including Maine (1st), Oregon (2nd), Michigan (3rd), New Mexico (4th), Iowa (7th), and Massachusetts (9th). 

While it is true that women’s representation has increased, the 2023 GPI shows that women are still underrepresented at every level of government in the U.S., holding just one-third of all elected positions, despite comprising over 50% of the population. Women of color are further underrepresented, holding approximately one-tenth of all elected positions. This year’s GPI further shows that:

  • Record-breaking wins have resulted in incremental gains for women. Headlines that announce record highs for women in politics are often misleading; women remain underrepresented at every level of government. Net gains for women are generally smaller than they appear, slowing progress.
  • Not every state is on an upward trajectory toward parity; some states, such as New Hampshire and Louisiana, have even lost progress over time. 
    • New Hampshire ranked first and achieved an “A” between 2015-2018 and again in 2020; it now ranks 10th with a score of 41/100 (grade: B).
    • Louisiana ranked 28th in the first GPI with a score of 16/100 (grade: D); it now has a score of 9/100 (grade: F) and ranks 50th in the 2023 GPI.
  • Gains for women are concentrated in the Northeast and West Coast, while women’s representation in Midwestern and Southern states lags far behind. 
  • Democratic women are outpacing Republican women in elected office, suggesting that progress toward parity will eventually slow unless a) more Republican women are elected or b) more Democratic women than men are elected.
  • Systemic reform is needed to level the playing field and create more opportunities for women to enter and remain in office. Rather than replace existing candidate-focused strategies, systemic reforms can function in a complementary manner to bring out the best of both strategies. 

2023 Report

Dashboard: International Voting Systems

infogram_0_02d14ad5-03ff-4730-93c5-9432ab0bdda82022 International Data Dashboard

Our International Voting Systems Dashboard has five tabs:

1. Parliaments and rankings 

This tab shows the structure of government, the rank for women's representation (based on the percentage of women in the lower house), the number of women elected, and the percentages of women in the chambers.

2. Voting systems of parliaments

This tab shows the type of voting system used, along with sub-categories, and the date of the most recent election.

3. Gender quotas

This tab details the types of gender quotas implemented in each chamber of parliament.

4. Heads of state and government

This tab shows the current Heads of State (HoS) and Government (HoG) & their respective genders (F or M), election dates, and titles. This tab also

5. Cabinets

This section shows the number of cabinet members, the number of women in the cabinet, the percentage of women in the cabinet, and the most recent verification date.

The goal of this dashboard is to contextualize the U.S. within the world, show the unique systems used around the globe, and show where women's representation is the highest. 

This dashboard is interactive! Scroll over each country to see the data. 

Snapshot: International Voting Systems and Country Rankings

This 2023 International Voting Systems Snapshot ranks countries according to women's representation in the lower house of their national parliament. As displayed in our 2023 International Voting Systems Memo, most countries ranked above the U.S. have a proportional voting system, and women are least represented in countries with plurality-majority systems. These findings emphasize the need to study the impact of voting systems, as well as why implementing proportional voting is vital to leveling the playing field for women in the U.S.  

infogram_0_4ea310c2-dfaf-404c-b411-6457e18387142022 International Women&amp;#39;s Representation | Voting Systems | Quotas

Snapshot: International Women's Representation in 2003 and 2023

infogram_0_da5dead0-809c-4ac4-b1d0-e2b17bfd41e92023 Int&amp;#39;l Snapshot - 2003 v 2023


These two charts show that although women have made gains in terms of political representation, progress has been slow and incremental. Without systems-level and candidate-level changes being implemented in tandem, it is unlikely we will see gender-balanced governance within our lifetimes. 

Notably, in 2023 less than 10 countries have achieved gender parity. 

Women on the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court is the highest level of the judiciary branch. Out of 115 justices that have served on the court, only six have been women. Four are currently serving: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Amy Coney Barrett, and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Did you know? There is a long history of women being considered for the Supreme Court. Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court (2020) outlines the history of nine women who were considered, dating back to the 1930s. 

Sandra Day O'Connor - Wikipedia

Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

In 1981, President Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to replace Potter Stewart as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Although her nomination was originally opposed by pro-life and religious groups, who worried she should not rule in favor of overturning Roe vs. Wade (1973), she was eventually confirmed by a 99-0 vote in the Senate. While she was a conservative jurist, siding with the conservative justices in the majority of cases before her, many of her decisions were praised for being both narrow and moderate. She retired in 2006.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Wikipedia

Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

President Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the Supreme Court in 1993, and she was then confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 96-3 vote. Before joining the court, Ginsburg worked as a professor, as an attorney (arguing in front of the Supreme Court multiple times on mostly gender-related cases), and as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In her 27 years on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg established herself as a champion of women's rights and gender equality. Although thought of as a moderate when confirmed, Justice Ginsburg consistently voted with the liberal bloc of the court. She served until her passing in 2020.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The U.S. Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice in 2009 to replace retiring Justice David Souter. Previously, Sotomayor served as a district court judge in New York and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. She was the third woman and first Latina to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice Sotomayor has made waves by standing up for civil rights and rights of defendants, including a scathing dissent in Utah v. Edward Joseph Strieff, Jr. in 2016.

Associate Justice Elena Kagan

Elena Kagan was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice in 2010, replacing John Paul Stevens. Before her confirmation, Kagan served as the first female U.S. Solicitor General. Kagan also served as the dean of her alma mater, Harvard Law School, from 2003 to 2009. In 1995, President Clinton asked Kagan to work at the White House as associate counsel, which led to her appointment as Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and then Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. She is the only current Supreme Court justice with no prior judicial experience.

Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice in 2020, replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Before her confirmation, Barrett served as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 2017-2020. During her tenure, she ruled consistently in favor of conservative policies, which included rulings against abortion. Barrett also taught law at her alma mater, Notre Dame Law School, from 2002 to 2017

Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

On April 7, 2022, Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court, replacing Justice Stephen Breyer. Before her confirmation, Judge Jackson served as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. District Court. As a judge, Jackson has been known for her detailed and methodical work. Judge Jackson is also the first former public defender to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.


Report: 2022 Gender Parity Index

To quantify progress towards gender parity in elected and appointed office, RepresentWomen developed the Gender Parity Index (GPI). Each year, a Gender Parity Score and grade is calculated for each of the 50 states and for the United States as a whole. The Gender Parity Score reflects women's recent electoral successes at the local, state, and national levels on a scale of 0 (if no women were elected to any offices) to 100 (if women held all elected offices). The key advantage of the GPI is that it enables comparisons to be made over time and among states. 

The 2022 Gender Parity Index

As of June 2022, there are 147 (28%) women in Congress: 24 in the Senate and 123 in the House. In 333 statewide elective executive offices, 101 (30%) are either led or co-led by women. Of 7,383 seats in state legislatures, women hold 2,295 (31%). At the local level, 367 (25%) of 1,465 cities are represented by women, and 80 (33%) of the five largest county governments in each state are either led or co-led by women.

And yet, overall progress towards parity is frustratingly incremental in the U.S. In 2022, the average parity score is 24.8. If we round up, this brings us to an average score of 25 out of 100, which means we are halfway to parity. In 2021, the average score was 24.6; two years ago, it was 23.8.

2022 Report Methodology Score Chart State-by-State Graphics

Shareables: 2022 Gender Parity Index State Graphics

We have created these shareable state scorecards to help you spread the word about the status of women's representation in your state. Feel free to share these on social media, send them to your representatives, and use them as data-backed evidence in your efforts to advance policy solutions that remove barriers for women in U.S. politics. Enjoy!

Country Brief: Latin America

Gender quotas have uniquely defined Latin American politics since their conception. In 1991, Argentina became the first country in the world to adopt legislative gender quotas. Soon after, other countries in Latin America and around the world began to do the same. Of the five countries in the world that have achieved gender parity in their legislatures, three are in Latin America. Whether due to the fact that they were among the first to embrace gender quotas or because of other underlying factors, it is clear that the region has many success stories when it comes to women's representation. 

Yet, that is not to say that every country in this region is succeeding at achieving gender-balanced governance. There is great diversity in performance on women's representation in Latin America, which hints that gender quotas, though helpful, may not be the only solution needed to achieve gender parity. 

This brief analyzes trends in Latin America, defined by 19 countries located in Central and South America, to: 

  • Determine what factors support or hinder a country's journey to gender parity.
  • Guide the United States in its own journey to achieve parity. 

Download Country Brief

Country Brief: Arab States

Over half (55%) of Arab states ensure women's representation through gender quotas (mostly reserved seats). Our research indicates that women in countries with gender quotas are better represented by women than they are in countries without quotas. But even in countries that have achieved higher levels of representation, more needs to be done to ensure that women have meaningful opportunities to lead. To learn more about the status of women's representation in Arab states, refer to our full brief. 

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Country Brief: Post-Soviet States

The Soviet Union, also known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was established in 1922 with 15 republics, making it the largest country in the world- for reference, it was 2.5 times larger than the United States and was one-sixth of Earth’s land surface. On December 26th, 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved, resulting in the creation of 15 new and independent states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. 

Under the Soviet Union, women’s rights were enshrined by the constitution, which guaranteed equal rights for women in all aspects of life, including the economic, cultural, social, and political spheres. Soviet women were actively involved in the labor force and in domestic affairs- this “double burden” also meant that they experienced time poverty, or a lack of adequate time for leisure and rest. Despite this, Soviet women were still 49% of all local officials and 32% of all federal officials in 1980. However, Soviet women were less likely to be promoted within the government hierarchy, and some women also preferred local politics due to their time poverty, which can explain women’s reduced levels of representation between the local and federal government. Throughout the state’s existence, women’s political representation greatly fluctuated, especially in political party leadership, which is proof of the inadequate implementation of their 30% gender quota.

Why Read This Brief? This brief chooses to analyze these 15 post-Soviet states primarily because their constitutions, political parties, electoral systems, and sociocultural attitudes have all been developed in the last 30 years. Being some of the most newly formed states in the world, these post-Soviet states are still in the process of expanding their legal codes, updating their electoral codes and institutions, and creating mechanisms to monitor the realization of gender equality. Each country in this region has experienced similar and unique barriers in their journey to state development, as well as some resounding successes that other countries should consider implementing within their own governments. Overall, this region is one of the most unique in the world, and there are many successes and challenges which can be identified to enhance our understanding of both the post-Soviet states and governments around the world.

Download Country Brief